Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Paul Foot Award shortlist announced

The judges of the Paul Foot Award have announced the shortlist for this year's prize, which recognises the best investigative campaigning journalism of the year.

Chairman of the judges Brian MacArthur said: "It is always a cheering experience, giving the lie to any impression that investigative journalism is no longer so important to contemporary editors as it was.

"One pleasure is the unexpected entries: it isn't only the big beasts who impress. There was a creditable entry from Horse and Hound on equine cruelty, for instance, another from John Hoyte's website exposing the threat to airline passengers from aerotoxic fumes. And investigative reporters still flourish on regional evenings and weeklies.

"This year's shortlist speaks for itself. The six entries selected are (in alphabetical order):

Jonathan Calvert and Clare Newell (Sunday Times) on MPs and peers seeking cash for influence ("I'm like a cab for hire" – Stephen Byers)

David Cohen (Evening Standard) on the plight of the poor in London, including children's poverty and the continuing existence of paupers' graves in the capital.

Nick Davies (Guardian) on phone-hacking conducted by the News of the World when Andy Coulson, now the government's director of communications, was editor.

Linda Geddes (New Scientist) on evidence that DNA tests are not always accurately interpreted.

Eamonn McCann (Irish Times, Belfast Telegraph, Guardian) on the cover-up of the British army's actions on Bloody Sunday.

Clare Sambrook (numerous publications) on the scandal of the detention of asylum seekers' children.

Also highly commended from the longlist were Andrew Gilligan (Sunday Telegraph) on the fundamentalist infiltration of Tower Hamlets; Nina Lakhani (Independent on Sunday) on the fate of NHS whistleblowers; Sean O'Neill and David Brown (Times) on the failure of Ealing Abbey to protect children from a known paedophile priest; and Robert Verkaik (Independent)on events at Guantanamo Bay.

The award was set up by Private Eye and the Guardian in memory of Paul Foot, the campaigning journalist who died in 2004. The £5,000 first prize will be presented on Tuesday 2 November in London, with each of the runners-up receiving £1,000.

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